Stopping Safely Along The Way

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N5IBM

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2005
Posts
8
Location
Orlando, FL
Hello Gang,

I am new to the 5th wheel driving.

When driving long distances each day, like 500-600 miles, where would be good fuel locations / and restuarant's along the way that on a regular basis have room to manauver and park.

I have heard stories of unkind 18 wheelers that have purposly damaged a travel trailer just because you park near them in a reat area.

Thanks much,

Russell - Orlando, FL
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
72,979
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
One hears stories but never a first hand report.  We have stayed in truck stops a few times and never had any problems or even a hint of one. I have heard of a few accidents in crowded lots, but nothing that suggests to me that it was intentional.  But truck stops are most always noisy and often smelly with exhaust fumes and, in my opinion, a pretty poor choice if there is an alternative.

Walmarts or Sams Clubs are usually much quieter and often have 24 hour security as well.  Sometimes restaurants or other local places will allow overnight parking as well, though we have never tried that ourselves. 

Last, we  never drive 500-600 miles per day. We consider 400 miles a long drive and usually do 200-250.  That leaves plenty of time to stop for the night and get our money's worth from a modest and inexpensive  campground.  But we are retired and usually have the luxury of plenty of time to get from one place to another. Vacationers may not be so lucky.
 
A

Albslb2

Guest
Gary's assessment is right on target. We've been RVing since the 60's and never have had resting nor overnight problems at rest stops.  However, after all the years of doing so, we have our favorites, as well as ones to avoid.  I love driving so, time and mileage is not a factor for me.  Early riser and late bedder, 5AM to 10:30 PM, I ususally plan my trips around a Flying J and then I can fill up and be ready to roll in the AM. Also we stay at many friends places thoughout the country as well as shopping areas when given permission and Love's or stop and ask a patrolman where to eat and the safest area to rest might be. It certainly works for us.  Of course everyone has to figure out what is best for them.  Main thing is travel when you can and try to assist other RVer's along the road, heck you don't know for sure, cause it might be me, but I hope not.  Good Luck and happy motoring. Perhaps we'll see you around.
 

Steve CDN

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 31, 2005
Posts
2,388
Location
Canada/U.S.A
My first hand report is about being clipped by an 18 wheeler in the FJ at Columbia  NC.  There was no reason for the "accident" except that it was an intentional clip of my side view mirror.  I was parked in a way and in a place that did not interfere with traffic.

It happened at 5 am, so we were sleeping, and as I tried to get the driver's attention, he sped off.  In calling the company, I was blown off by their claims guy who suggested I try suing them.

We stay away from truck stops and even have reservations about the RV parking areas designated at FJ's.  These are populated by many inexperienced  RVer's who can cause as much damage to your rig as any trucker.

A few years ago, these were acceptable overnight stopping locations, but the increased RV traffic in recent years has spoiled this valuable resource.

Many Walmarts are still OK, though truckers are now moving into these and if the trend continues, we might lose that resource as well.

Rest stops are out of the question because of the inherent danger brought about by being alone and without overnight security guards in most cases.

You may have to be creative to find safe boondocking locations, and beware of the traditional locations which are dwindling in numbers and increasing in danger.
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
One of the advantages of hauling a trailer is that lunch is anywhere or when you want to stop and can park legally.  If you want to do a restaurant, simply go around the vicinity looking for a good on the street parking spot.  If you are visiting a shopping center, park at the far end of the parking lot to avoid getting tied up in the mess near the stores.

Overnighting?  I make a practice of using commercial campgrounds.  I simply call ahead and reserve a spot in a cg that I located in Trailer Life's Campground Directory.  I ask for a pull thru so I do not have to unhitch.  A water and electric only spot is fine, since I will be only plugging in and topping off the fresh tank.

I could search around for a Wal Mart or other freebie spot but I like the idea of paying my money and taking my pick of places to land for the night. 

Rest areas are ok for lunch stops but not for overnighters.  Too many hoods around them for complete comfort.
 

Dave R

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Posts
291
Location
North Carolina
I agree with Carl. Years ago we used to spend the night in some rest areas, but I would never
do that now. As Carl said it is much simpler to just pull into a campground and go on the next
morning and feel safe about it.

We only travel about 200 miles per day and don't travel more than 2 days in a row. After all
we are retired. Where are we going that we need to rush that fast. Also we try to avoid the
interstates. If you like to see the country as we do that is where it is. If you are in a rush to get
somewhere then you need to be on the interstate.

Dave
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
72,979
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
Russell,
Addressing the restaurant part of your question...

Cracker Barrels are officially "RV Friendly" but often their parking lots are crowded with customers and some are not all that large to begin with.

McDonald's caters to big rigs and will often have truck parking in the rear, sometimes behind the drive-thru. Not every McD's has the space for that, but it's a good bet.  Other fast food places may also do this, but McD's seems to provide the space more often.

Truck stops usually have restaurants and some of them are quite good.

We also look for shopping malls and supermarkets when we want a lunch stop.  Very often there will be a restauarant in the parking lot or adjacent to it.  And of course you can fix your own meal in the rig.  If the parking lot has plenty of room, you can park out of the way and nobody is likely to object. Especially if you drop into one of the stores while you are there.
 

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